The preseason schedule hasn’t exactly been kind to Tooele County’s three high school football teams, though that was partially by design.
All three squads currently sport 1-2 records. Stansbury lost by 11 points to Sky View and by 19 points to Taylorsville before beating Grantsville by 21. Tooele blew out North Sanpete 41-0, but has given up 118 points in back-to-back losses to Sky View and Dixie. Grantsville had an impressive win over Minico (Idaho) sandwiched between three-score losses to Cyprus and Stansbury.
And it gets no easier this week. Tooele and Grantsville face each other, so either the Buffaloes or the Cowboys will pick up their second win of the season, while the other will suffer their third loss. Stansbury, which has played as tough a preseason schedule as anybody, will travel to Mountain Crest for its second game against a Cache County school this season.
All this, in preparation for the upcoming region-title chase, which gets underway next week when Stansbury and Tooele renew their rivalry in the Region 11 opener. Grantsville will host longtime rival Morgan in the Class 3A North opener.
With all three teams battered and bruised after a challenging preseason, it’s hard to figure out the benefit of playing such a tough schedule at this point. The effect — positive or negative — won’t be totally apparent until the postseason rolls around, which is the next time Tooele, Stansbury or Grantsville will face this caliber of competition.
Both Tooele and Stansbury have been to the state semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the past two years, only to get buzz-sawed by Dixie and Desert Hills, respectively. This year, they not only want to return to the University of Utah’s home field — they want to have a shot at a state title. While Tooele’s loss to Dixie on Friday shows that they have a long way to go to reach that goal, at least they know where they stand among Class 4A’s elite.
Grantsville is looking to get back among the elite programs in Class 3A as well, and their region appears wide open. Morgan got blown out by Class 2A’s top team in South Summit, and Judge Memorial fell hard against Juan Diego. The Trojans and Bulldogs were ranked ahead of the Cowboys in the preseason rankings, but they’re certainly not unbeatable. Grantsville has as good a shot as anybody of winning the Class 3A North title, and once the Cowboys get to the postseason, anything can happen.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He’s enjoying having three straight weeks of rivalry games. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.